Possession with intent to supply
Produced in partnership with Red Lion Chambers
Possession with intent to supply

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Red Lion Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Possession with intent to supply
  • Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug
  • Elements of the offence of possession with intent to supply
  • Meaning of the term ‘possession’
  • Meaning of ‘controlled drug’
  • Meaning of the term ‘intent to supply’
  • Defences to possession with intent to supply
  • Evidence in possession with intent to supply cases
  • Sentencing for possession with intent to supply

Possession with intent to supply

Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug

It is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in his possession, whether lawfully or not, with intent to supply it to another in contravention of section 4(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA 1971).

Elements of the offence of possession with intent to supply

The prosecution have to prove, to the criminal standard (see Practice Note: Burden and standard of proof in criminal proceedings) that:

  1. the defendant was in possession of drugs

  2. the drugs are controlled drugs, and

  3. the defendant intended to supply the drugs to another

Possession with intent to supply is triable in either the magistrates’ or Crown Court unless the offence is one where, if convicted, the defendant would face a sentence of at least seven years’ imprisonment under section 313 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020) (see below), in which case it should be dealt with in the Crown Court. However, only in exceptional cases involving the smallest quantity of drugs, will magistrates retain jurisdiction in cases regarding Class A and B drugs.

Meaning of the term ‘possession’

In brief, possession means that the drugs were in the custody or control of the defendant.

See Practice Note: Possession of controlled drugs.

Meaning of ‘controlled drug’

In order to be guilty of this offence the drug must be subject to

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